Written by Mass
- Artist: Static-X
- Album: Project Regeneration, Vol. 1
- Genre: Industrial Metal – Nu Metal
- Release Date: July 10, 2020
- Country: USA
- Highlights: Something of My Own – Bring You Down – Worth Dying For – Hollow
- Rating: 8.5
I Close My Eyes and Remember the Good Days
One of my chief childhood musical crushes, Static X, and its hallowed image somewhat shattered into a million jagged pieces one, as I grew old and two, once Wayne Static accidentally took his own life in 2014 when he took medicine with alcohol. Static X was falling into the pits of insignificance and the flame was slowly but surely dying out in my heart, only rekindled ever-so-dimmer whenever I spun their older stuff like Start a War or Shadow Zone, but when I heard of the Project Regeneration, I jumped for joy. I didn’t have the faintest idea, and honestly didn’t care much, how they were going to pull this project through; what mattered to me most was what the end result would be. And in short, I am hugely satisfied with this product.
You don’t often get the chance to see your heroes, especially that of teenage years, come back to life, so this resurrection was more than exhilarating to me. All the hype aside, I find this album the fruition of what Wayne had been working on and the sensible “next step” for the band; this is what he would have wished for.
The album opens with a fully-electronic, techno-driven intro, which is far from anything I would ever like, but I turn a blind eye to this – what else can I do guys? this is Static X. To me, the album begins with Hollow, which is also the first single track made available prior to the release of the album. Hollow is a discarded gem which did not qualify, according to Campos, on Start a War; and that is exactly where it comes from, right from mid-career Static X. It has this fine blend of industrial, groove, electronic and metal. Just enough of all the elements that make up this band at the core.
The melodic nature of Worth Dying For, as well as its catchiness, makes it a certain radio-friendly highlight. The Static-Campos vocal duet works magic on this track; it is not “the beauty and the beast” style, but rather “screaming beast, growling beast” style, you know. Perhaps the most iconic song on this project is Terminator Oscillator with opening samples which narrate the story of regenerating a death machine, a Terminator, “better, stronger, faster.” This is the track on which Wayne’s vocals are rather minimal, signifying the band’s collective efforts to bring him to life. Besides that, it has this “disco destroyer” quality for which the band is renowned. All These Years, the second previously-released single track, has a simple, retro alternative vibe. Following that comes Accelerate with its meditative looped riff and Campos’ repeating mantra “slow.” It is a bit slower in pace, despite its title and is positioned right at the end of the first half of the album.
The second half begins with Bring You Down. As a melodic fanatic, I cannot help but put this track and its mesmerizing, nuanced, melodic vocals somewhere on top of the highlights of Project Regeneration, Vol. 1. Wayne harnesses his screamy vocals and lusters his voice with gradations of angsty-swinging-towards-clean vocal delivery. Unlike Bring You Down, My Destruction is under heavy sway of techno, somewhere in the pitfalls of aggrotech maybe; though it is much coarser and rougher than said highlight, it fails to merge metal and electronic. Back to nu/industrial metal with Something of My Own now. It picks up melody where Bring you Down left off and delivers it in a flavorful packaging.
Another retro industrial track is Otsego Placebo. It is another piece in the thread of Otsego songs, which were staples on their first few LPs. It’s a fierce, hectic chaos-fest with screams thrown around left and right. On the plus side, Xer0’s vocals are showcased and he proves to be an adequate substitute for Wayne on the mic. The same “evil disco” attitude can be also found on Follow, where song-writing falls second to the force driving this piece forward. These two weaker tracks, however, are swept under the rug when Dead Souls starts touching several soft-spots in the listener. With its slow pace, low-spirited acoustic guitar and the help of Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Dead Souls leaves a bittersweet aftertaste.
Project Regeneration, Volume 1 was in every bit of it a homage to and a legacy of Wayne Static. It lived up to all the expectations we, the fans, had had and in fact, I daresay, it surpassed my borders of expectancy. Two gigantic thumbs way up to Tony Campos in particular, Koichi Fukuda, Ken Jay, and Xer0 for going that extra mile and making this album a memorable feast for our ears. It is undoubtedly no mean feat. I duff my hat to them.
By the way, had I ever told you that in my adolescence, I used to have an upward hair-style and a chintail just like Wayne?
- Lyrics: 8.0
- Artwork: 7.0
- Musicianship: 7.5
- Vocals: 9.0
- Value to me: 10.0
- Overall: 8.5